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Staples, Office Depot drive in-store traffic with omnichannel prowess on mobile

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April 29, 2015

Staples and Office Depot are bolstering their mobile offerings

Staples and Office Depot are bolstering their mobile offerings

Staples and Office Depot are doubling down on efforts to put mobile at the center of their omnichannel success with recent application updates that bring new-found flexibility to loyalty-point redemptions and order fulfillment.

As more consumers turn to bigger online shopping retailers for a one-stop shop to purchase all of their supply needs, office supplies retailers such as Staples and Office Depot are left to try to reach consumers in creative and targeted methods. By enhancing the in-app rewards platform so that users can use a bar code to redeem points in-store, Staples is well-poised to ramp up sales and drive in-store traffic with an omnichannel approach.

“The ability to access rewards information in the Staples mobile app has been the number one ask from our customers,” said Mark Cautela, director of corporate communications and social media listening at Staples, Framingham, MA. “We know that the convenience of being able to quickly access and redeem rewards (and coupons) through mobile at checkout drives higher engagement with the app, Staples and rewards in general.

“That ability to access rewards information is a priority for customers as it is convenient and drives higher engagement,” he said. “Customers shop Staples in a variety of ways – including stores, online, and through mobile – and we reward them for all of the ways that they shop.

“Staples is a multichannel retailer and so Staples Rewards is a multichannel program.”

The mobile strategy
Staples is gearing up to take its rewards platform even more mobile by enabling consumers to easily view their account history within the brand’s app. If users are paying for a purchase, they can decide whether to add their rewards balance in-app or use it in store.

The brand is also attempting to ramp up sales of its customized products on mobile devices, a tactic which is likely to resonate positively with consumers who prefer to browse for materials and inspiration on their smartphones and tablet devices.

Staples has acquired the Makr mobile application for the iOS platform, which allows users to design and pay for customized materials such as business cards, invitations and stickers within the app, further augmenting the brand’s pick-up-in-store options and tapping the instant gratification that mobile purchases enable (see story).

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Meanwhile, Office Depot is enabling an in-store pick-up option, which allows customers to buy their goods on mobile or online, and opt to pick up those items from their local bricks-and-mortar store on the same day.

Office Depot’s push for omnichannel has been visible for the past year.

Last July, ahead of many consumers going back to school, Office Depot revisited the enhanced experience granted by augmented reality with a promotion that integrated bricks-and-mortar stores with an omnichannel shopping experience that tapped the growing, loyal fan base of rock band R5 (see story).

Benefits of loyalty
The new updates in the Staples app are primarily based on the rewards platform, proving that loyalty programs may help set it apart from other conglomerates such as Amazon. The updated Rewards Dashboard makes searching easier and enables consumers to tap to add their rewards to an online order.

If they are making an in-store purchase and wish to redeem rewards, users can present their app to the cashier to scan the bar code.

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“Staples Rewards program helps small businesses make more savings happen,” Mr. Cautela said. “The benefit of Staples rewards, including up to five percent back and free shipping, helps customers do a true price to value comparison against other retailers.

“Customers can also access all purchase information for both store and online, and quickly review their reward benefits to understand the savings they’re realizing on any given transaction. Finally, they can easily see any rewards earned and available for redemption.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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